Monday, February 7, 2011

No good deed goes unpunished in Tennessee.

Stephen Sawchuk at EdWeek has a really nice sum-up today about threats to collective bargaining around the country. (Though, as I told him, the piece needed a clearer list up high of what kinds of policy issues are now subject to bargaining, and an explanation of what happens when collective bargaining is not an option. We may have an automatic understanding of this, but readers—even of a trade publication—may not.)

The state with the farthest-reaching proposal to bar collective bargaining is also one, Steve points out, where unions have hardly stood in the way of reform: Race to the Top winner Tennessee. Is the bill just legislator grandstanding, or is there a real chance for passage? It is hard to imagine unions wanting to compromise on evaluation and other issues if they are just going to get thrashed in the legislature later anyway.

This is definitely a ripe question for reporters in Tennessee.


  1. I am a Tennessee Public School Teacher in Knoxville. This is just another shot in a series of ever-growing attacks against the rank-and-file front line educators in our state.

    Led by our own OBSCENELY overpaid, media-hound, millionaire, Broad-trained,talking head of a superintendent, we have endured attacks from our local media outlets, endured the gutting of programs, positions, benefis, and salaries - while all the while MORE overpaid adnim staff are hired into newly created positions to serve under him - including more "Broad fellows"

    Daily we experience the media-enabled hatred of teachers from parents and fellow citizens (we're greedy, lazy, incompetent, and have all those days off). We are told that we will be fired if we make any statements questioning our superintendent's "Vision" - all while our central office politicos moan to the media about "how hard is is to get rid of bad teachers".

    Simultaneously, our Broad-toad super takes home more that 230K a year, with a 1K per month auto allowance, and a 1200-a-month "just because" stipend to enjoy on his 24 days per year of personal vacation leave. He has allowed less affluent, structurally unsafe schools to slip into ruin while diverting public monies to politically-connected real estate developers to build unneeded new "STEM" schools (aka back-door charters). He has used the local media as a forum to publicly reveal disciplinary actions taken against teachers, including baseless allegations or unfounded parent complaints - further inciting the local population against us. He has replaced professional, veteran teachers with poorly-suited "alternative licensure" amateurs from teacher-licensing mills because its cheaper - one of whom SHOT his two administrators after his contract was not renewed.

    Our "union" is weak and all but ineffective. And what is left of it will be smashed into uselessness in the name of political theater.

    Thanks for mentioning Tennessee.

  2. Fortunately, our Broad-trained superintendent was forced to resign after six months, but we're still cleaning up from the damage. Ironically the union tried to work with him, but he didn't listen to us until it was too late to save him.

    I wish you all good luck.